Quito busterminalThe bus is probably the most used type of transport in Ecuador. Foreign travellers have a very easy time getting around Ecuador by bus. If you want to move fast, but don't want to miss out on all the beautiful landscapes that Ecuador has to offer, the bus is the way to go.

Why should I take the bus?

Besides hiking or riding a bicycle, the bus is the cheapest way to get to anywhere in Ecuador. The bus network can be very reliable and efficient. There's hardly a place you can't go by bus in Ecuador.

Even in major cities the bus can get you everywhere. In some cities the bus network can be a bit complicated (like in Guayaquil and Cuenca), but if you have the time and want to save a few dollars, the bus is a safe bet!

What can I expect while sitting on a bus in Ecuador?

  • Loud Latin music. It doesn't really matter what time of day it is, you'll hear it. Even long nightbusses to or from the coast may give you more cumbia and reggaeton than most western people can handle in a lifetime.
  • Bad action movies, at all hours of the day. By the time you leave Ecuador you will know every Jean-Claude van Damme movie ever put on the market. You have watched them with little schoolkids from Ecuador while riding a bus from one side of the country to another.
  • It's packed. Busses in Ecuador are full. There will be enough times when you won't be able to find a seat or have to give it up to the woman with the little baby in her arms. On the other hand, you may find yourself sharing a bottle of aguardiente with the old guy sitting next to you and making your bus ride the best time of your journey through Ecuador.
  • It will break down. Good chance your bus will break down somewhere in the middle of the jungle and you will end up trying not to be bitten by mosquitoes, while looking at stunning Amazon views.
  • You'll meet people. Sitting on a bus for nine hours straight is a bonding experience. For some unexplainable reason people seem to get closer to eachother and open up and start talking, even to the western guy at the back of the bus.
  • You'll see the country. Sitting in a bus you'll get the chance to see the countryside. And you can hop out whenever you want to take a closer look.

How are the bus terminals in Ecuador?

Bus terminals in Ecuador can be a paradise. Of course this is only the case after sitting down in a tiny seat for more than 10 hours straight going from Quito to Loja. Getting that bottle of water that you have been dying for can be one of the happiest moments during your travels in Ecuador.

Usually bus terminals in Ecuador are very crowded, badly organised and you'll have a hard time finding the right bus most of the time. Luckilly a lot of the major cities in Ecuador have figured out that bus terminals are a problem for travellers and are trying to solve that. In Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca and Ibarra they have built brand new, well organised bus stations, meeting every travellers needs. The safety in bus stations is getting better too, but never leave your backpack in a place where you can't see it.

Check out the following pages about related subjects:

Other ways to travel in Ecuador

  1. Bus
  2. Taxi
  3. Hitchhiking
  4. Planes
  5. Boats
  6. Trains
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